Heko Rais Magufuli

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

The world needs to be clear and sincere on gay rights

When the Dar es Salaam boss, Paul Makonda, came up with the idea of identifying and hunting down people violating Tanzania’s morals, he touched on an untouchable hot button, homosexuality and disremembered that there are things an African country can’t do without the consent of the West such as the recent legalisation of Marijuana implies. Were African countries consulted in reaching this decision? Again, why? I think we need to agree; the international system’s still colonial and fickle in nature and practices.  If the West legalises cocaine today, it’ll be legal despite what. Thus, such a norm makes those whose views are excluded think that whatever comes from the West is holy and legal and what opposes it is illegal. This is where the hypothesis of colonialism emanates. There’s no way different cultures can share the same truth, especially when it comes to cultural matters such as sexual orientation.   
Let’s have derring-do as a human community; and address whatever differences we’ve. When dealing with some subtle issues such as homosexuality, the West forgets that it’s the same that came with written edicts that illegalised what it’s now forcing down the throats of its ever faithful converts. For such people such as Africans, going contrary to what they’re taught to be godly isn’t only ungodly but also turning God into a kook of sort. To grasp my point, try to imagine a Christian who grew up being oft-taught that sodomy’s aberrant and unforgivable as per the edicts of God.  Arguably, it’ll take many centuries for Africans to accept something they believed to be unthinkable let alone being taught about its impiety by major foreign religions. For example, the bible says “if a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them” (Leviticus 20:13), thus the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Despite expressly demonising and illegalising this new human right, the bible’s categorically brutal and open. Interestingly, nobody seeks recantation or amendment simply because it’s the word of God. If the bible’s the right to permanently deprecate sodomy, why doesn’t the same apply to African cultures despite being flawless about the same? In the Middle East, homophobia is open, governments are impenitent and the West, especially the US, doesn’t do anything (ABC, May 25, 2009). Another important fact to accentuate is; in individualistic society, life revolves around an individual whereas in collectivistic one, life revolves around the person and the society; and the two are intimate in many spaces and scopes.
For example, there’s an assumption that the government of Tanzania has no religion; thus, it untenable for it to justify any move against gays based on morality. Nonetheless, under the drive of preserving national culture, customs, mores and norms that form the part of the law of the land–however hard they’re to define–the government can legally justify its move. 
To see the colonial mentality, holier than thou and two-facedness of the international community, consider the following stances taken by some governments either headed by explicitly anti-gay leaders from the West and elsewhere.
The Huffington Post (August 27, 2015) quotes US President, Donald Trump as saying “I have been against [same-sex marriage] from the standpoint of the Bible, from the standpoint of my teachings as growing up and going to Sunday school and going to church, and I’ve been opposed to it, and we’ll just see how it all comes out. But, you know, if I was ever in that position I’d just have to explain it.”
Further, the Bloomberg (October 8, 2018) quotes Jair Bolsonaro, newly-elected Brazilian president as saying “I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son. I won’t be a hypocrite: I prefer a son to die in an accident than show up with a mustachioed guy. He’d be dead to me anyway.”
According to the CNN (October 10, 2018), Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said religious schools in Australia are already legally allowed to deny students a place based on their sexual orientation.
Furthermore, the Daily Mail (August 23, 2018) reports that “Austria rejects 'gay' asylum seeker's claim because he acted too 'girlish'... just days after rejecting another man's claim because he didn't 'walk, talk or dress like a homosexual.'” What’d have been the reactions had such actions committed by an African country or president? Due to the cacophony of the issue revolving around homosexuality, I’ve gathered some scenarios to back my bottom line.
  When gay rights or lives are threatened in Africa, it becomes big international stuff. But when the same happens in Europe or America, nothing so big is made out of it. Why?  The West has a clout of helping Africa almost in everything thinkable and unthinkable which is bad and undesirable. Being a Western Book, the bible still exists and is still exulted. Had it been an African idea or book, it’d have been history.
What’d be done? Methinks there must be an international convention or mechanism involving all countries to openly discuss this issue without necessarily any holier than thou or superimposition. All stakeholders must equally deliberate the matter by asking and answering crucial questions revolving around the rationale of legalising or illegalising the matter and reach a consensus.  As I said, I’m not of the view that we’d judge or legalise anything based on holier than thou and superimposition. Instead, we need to come up with logical reasons of reaching whatever verdict without necessarily superimposing anything on others or denying others anything. 
Source: Citizen, Today.

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